Elon Musk: The Story of The Maverick

A successful career, striking personality, and unconventional way of doing things are just a few reasons why Elon Musk is an inspirational leader of the 21st century.
Susan Fourtané
Elon Musk

At times, Elon Musk may appear controversial. He may spike long-lasting discussions on social media right after one of his multiple Tweets. The truth is Elon Musk is one-of-a-kind. You can like him or not, agree with him or not. Elon Musk is a maverick. 

Elon Reeve Musk founded his first company in 1995 when he was only 23 years old. Then he sold it for $307 million dollars when he was 28. He received $22 million dollars from the sale and became a millionaire. 

Rather than sitting back, relaxing, and enjoying life, Elon Musk savored his accomplishment and used the experience as the first brick that would build the Musk empire.

"If something is important enough, even if the odds are against you, you should still do it."- Elon Musk 

Quickly, a series of multiple companies emerged. From electric cars to solar energy, from underground tunnels on Earth to reusable space rockets and space tourism, from Artificial Intelligence and neural networks to a school for Generation Alpha.

Elon Musk is not only changing this world as we know it with his vision for the future but is about to create no less than a new world on Mars. Elon Musk will establish the first colony on the Red Planet, thus, making Earthlings a multi-planetary species. 

Elon Musk: A maverick 

Musk was born in South Africa in 1971 to an engineer father and a nutritionist mother. Growing up, he spent much of his time reading and working on projects under the watchful eye of his nanny. His fascination with the future and his passion for engineering, nurtured by his father, led him to Isaac Asimov's books and set him up for future achievements.

Since a young age, Elon Musk's personality has been shaped by curiosity, determination, strong will, perseverance, a vision of the future, critical thinking, and a strong desire to disrupt as many industries as possible. 

"An engineer is the closest thing to a magician that exists in the real world." -Elon Musk

At the age of 10, Elon Musk developed an interest in computing. He learned computer programming using a manual and a Commodore VIC-20. At the age of 12, the young Musk sold the code of a BASIC-based video game he created for approximately $500. He called the video game Blastar to PC and Office Technology magazine. 

An avid reader since his childhood, Musk's reading included Isaac Asimov's Foundation series. He was severely bullied during his childhood to the point of being hospitalized after a group of boys threw him down a flight of stairs. 

Raised in Pretoria, South Africa, Musk briefly attended the University of Pretoria before moving to Canada at 17. He attended Queen's University in Canada and transferred to the University of Pennsylvania two years later. He received a bachelor's degree in economics from the Wharton School and a bachelor's in physics from the College of Arts and Sciences. 

Elon Musk was accepted to a Ph.D. program in Energy Physics/Materials Science at Stanford University in California in 1995. However, he decided to launch his first company instead: Zip2 Corporation.

Zip2 was a web software company that provided online business directories and city guides for newspapers. Major media companies used the company's software. And In 1999, Zip2 was acquired for nearly $300 million, providing Elon Musk with a substantial payout that allowed him to launch his next ventures, including PayPal, SpaceX, and Tesla.

Musk had already held two internships in Silicon Valley in 1994, one at Pinnacle Research Institute, an energy storage start-up researching electrolytic capacitors for energy storage. The second internship was at the Palo Alto-based start-up Rocket Science Games.

Elon Musk believes the world needs something different, and he has what it takes to provide the answers and materialize his ideas. Without a doubt, his hard work and strong will take him to a place no human has gone before, his ultimate goal: Mars colonization. 

Elon Musk has transformed several industries. As a serial entrepreneur, he has founded and co-founded several companies that are changing the world. Musk is the founder, CEO, CTO, and chief designer of SpaceX, early investor CEO, and product architect of Tesla Inc., founder of the Boring Company, co-founder of Neuralink, and co-founder and initial co-chairman of OpenAI. Elon Musk has the longest-tenured CEO of any automotive manufacturer globally. 

His vision and the way he thinks about education are already changing the future of the younger Generation Alpha, the generation that one day will populate Mars. Each of Elon Musk's companies and initiatives has the same goal: To change the world. He is a successful technology entrepreneur, inventor, innovator, explorer, industrial designer, philanthropist, and engineer. 

Reasons for Elon Musk's success include his strong personality, unbreakable perseverance, curiosity, critical thinking, analysis, and risk-taking. He mixes everything with a high dose of hard work, without which everything else would be futile. 

Elon Musk is an engineer with a fascination for physics. His insatiable appetite for constantly and consistently reading and learning new things has helped him start and develop some of the world’s most ingenious and exciting enterprises. 

With no formal training in aeronautical engineering, Elon Musk has been able to create and lead his rocket science team at SpaceX. He took his aerospace company to the level of NASA and international space associations. His SpaceX company has even partnered with NASA. Elon Musk has accomplished what no space association or government has accomplished before.

Here we look at what Elon Musk has accomplished in each and every one of his companies. 

Elon Musk's first company: Zip2

After briefly attending graduate school in physics at Stanford University in California, Elon Musk quickly realized that the internet had far more potential to revolutionize society than the field of physics. With this insight in mind, Musk founded Zip2 in 1995, a company that offered online newspapers with maps and business directories alongside his brother.

Four years later, the computer manufacturer Compaq saw the value in Zip2. At the time, this was an innovative idea that happened almost a decade before Google Maps was created.  They acquired the company for a staggering $307 million, giving Musk the financial resources to explore new ventures and continue to push the boundaries of innovation.

Zip2's clients included The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. In 1999, Compaq acquired Zip2 for $307 million dollars. From this, Elon Musk received $22 million dollars for his seven percent share from the sale.

PayPal and X.com

Elon Musk: The Story of The Maverick
PayPal Headquarters in Silicon Valley,Source: Andrei Stanescu, iStock 

In 1999, Elon Musk co-founded X.com and invested $10 million from the sale of Zip2. X.com was a financial services company that allowed businesses and consumers to transfer money online or via email. In 2000, X.com merged with Confinity, a company with a similar money transfer service called PayPal. As a result, the company was renamed PayPal in 2001.

As the largest shareholder with 11.7 percent of PayPal's shares, Musk played a key role in revolutionizing e-commerce and transforming financial transactions. PayPal's innovative approach to online payments changed how people shop, conduct business, and send money to one another. Musk's investment and leadership were critical to the success of PayPal and cemented his reputation as a trailblazer in the tech industry.

When eBay acquired PayPal in 2002 for $1.5 billion, Musk gained $165 million from the deal. Instead of doing what normal people do and buying an island, retiring, and spending the rest of his life enjoying life, he invested all his capital in Tesla to save the company. His intuition paid off. 

Elon Musk's involvement with X.com and PayPal marked a significant turning point in e-commerce and online payments history. With X.com, Musk aimed to create a secure, efficient, and user-friendly financial services platform allowing people to transfer money over the Internet easily.

After the merger with Confinity, the new company, PayPal, grew rapidly and gained widespread popularity among online shoppers and businesses. Musk's vision and leadership were instrumental in the company's success, as he spearheaded the development of innovative technologies that made PayPal a leading online payment platform.

One of the key features that set PayPal apart from other online payment systems was its focus on security. Musk recognized the importance of building a secure platform that would protect users' sensitive financial information and prevent fraud. Under his leadership, PayPal developed advanced encryption technologies and fraud detection systems that helped ensure the safety of transactions.

Elon Musk purchased the domain X.com from PayPal in July 2017. He said it had sentimental value for him, and the amount was not disclosed. The first name of his son with Grimes is X. Coincidence? Or perfect synchronization? 

Tesla Inc.: Fighting climate change

Elon Musk: The Story of The Maverick
Tesla Model S electric semi-autonomous car at Tesla Amsterdam showroom in The Netherlands, Source: Susan Fourtané

Only an extraordinary risk-taker can envision and achieve as much as Elon Musk in the course of his life. Elon Musk co-founded Tesla in 2003 and was an early investor in Tesla.

"Some people don't like change, but you need to embrace change as the alternative is disaster." -Elon Musk

Tesla Inc. is dedicated to producing affordable, mass-market electric cars, battery products, and solar roofs.

Elon Musk is widely known for co-founding Tesla, one of the world's most innovative and successful electric vehicle (EV) companies. Musk's interest in sustainable energy and electric vehicles began in the early 2000s when he was searching for ways to reduce the world's dependence on fossil fuels.

Elon Musk oversees all product development, engineering, and design of all the company's products.

In February 2004, Musk led the Series A investment round and joined Tesla's board of directors as its chairman. He assumed the company's leadership as CEO and product architect at Tesla Inc. in 2008. 

His active role within the company let him oversee Roadster product design at a detailed level. He planned to build sports cars, use the money from sales to build an affordable car, use the money to build an even more affordable car, and at the same time also provide zero-carbon emission electric power generation options. 

Following the plan, in 2008, Tesla built the Tesla Roadster. The company sold about 2.500 vehicles to 31 countries. This was the first serial production of all-electric cars to use lithium-ion battery cells. The sports car was capable of accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, traveling nearly 250 miles between charges. 

With a stake in the company taken by Daimler and a strategic partnership with Toyota --Elon Musk was able to bring in both companies as long-term investors in Tesla-- Tesla Inc. launched its initial public offering in June 2010, raising $226 million.

Tesla sold electric powertrain systems to Daimler for the Smart EV, Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive, Mercedes A-Class, and Toyota for the RAV4 EV. 

The four-door Model S, the company's first electric sedan capable of covering 265 miles between charges, was delivered on June 22, 2012. The Model S was honored as the 2013 Car of the Year by Motor Trend magazine. 

On February 9, 2012, Tesla unveiled its Model X, aimed at the SUV/minivan market. But the launch of the Model X  was delayed until September 2015.  Tesla's Model X was highly anticipated and marketed as the world's first luxury electric SUV. The company had announced the vehicle in 2012 and had initially planned to launch it in 2013. However, the production was delayed several times due to various technical issues and design changes.

In 2014, Elon Musk announced that Tesla would make its technology patents available to be used by anyone in good faith. He intended to entice automobile manufacturers to speed up the development of electric cars. "The unfortunate reality," he said, "is electric cars programs--or programs for any vehicle that doesn't burn hydrocarbons-- at the major manufacturers are small to non-existent, constituting  an average of far less than one percent of their total vehicle sales."

2016 was a busy year for Musk and Tesla. As of January 29, 2016, Elon Musk owned around 28.9 million Tesla shares, meaning he owned about 22 percent of the company by then. 

In early 2016, Elon Musk made a strategic move for Tesla by acquiring the highly coveted domain name Tesla.com. The domain had been previously owned by Stu Grossman since 1992, and its acquisition provided Tesla with a shorter and more memorable website address, which helped to increase brand recognition and credibility.

The same year, Tesla unveiled its highly anticipated Model 3 to make electric vehicles accessible to a broader audience with its lower base price of $35,000. The Model 3 quickly became a success, with over half a million units delivered by March 2020, making it the world's best-selling electric car in automotive history.

In July 2016, Elon Musk announced his vision of creating solar roofs with seamlessly integrated battery storage, allowing homes to generate and store renewable energy. He also revealed plans to expand Tesla's product line to include small SUVs and pickup trucks, as well as developing a self-driving capability that would be ten times safer than manual driving through massive fleet learning.

At the same time, Tesla ended its partnership with Mobileye, a manufacturer of autonomous vehicle technology, and began developing its autopilot hardware and software in-house. This move allowed Tesla to have greater control over the development of its autonomous driving capabilities and enabled them to push the boundaries of autonomous driving technology further.

In April 2017, Tesla Inc. became the most valuable American car manufacturer after announcing that it had surpassed General Motors in sales. The news ramped up production.

A great accomplishment for Tesla Energy was when in September 2017, Elon Musk signed a contract with the government of South Australia to install what at the time became the world's largest lithium-ion battery pack to help alleviate the state's energy blackouts.

The battery exceeded expectations in terms of performance and return on investment (ROI). The installation was successfully completed in 100 days within the set schedule; otherwise, according to the arrangement, the installation would have been free. 

In the beginning, Tesla aimed to produce 5,000 new Model 3 cars per week by December 2017. However, Elon Musk pushed that goal back to March 2018. Finally, a new date was set for June 2019.

Tesla's delay was due to some production problems that the company was experiencing. Some industry experts questioned how long investors would remain patient with the process.

Those who know Elon Musk's modus operandi and infinite capacity to come up with last-minute solutions trusted that this was just a small stone on the road. 

“You want to be extra rigorous about making the best possible thing you can. Find everything that’s wrong with it and fix it.”- Elon Musk

The news announced that Tesla was expected to fall short of first-quarter production forecasts.

It was also known that Elon Musk had pushed aside the head of engineering and decided to oversee efforts in that division personally. Just as he had done many times before when his companies experienced trouble. He was back to sleeping at the factory. 

In June, Elon Musk announced that Tesla was laying-off nine percent of its workforce. However, the production department would remain intact.

In an email to employees, Elon Musk explained his decision to eliminate some duplication of roles as an understandable way to cut costs. He admitted it was time to take serious steps toward turning a profit.

After the restructuring, Tesla announced that the company had met its goal of producing 5,000 Model 3 cars per week by the end of June and another 2,000 Model S sedans and Model X SUVs.

Elon Musk made another announcement with the unveiling of the new Tesla Semi and Roadster at the company's design studio. The launch of two new groundbreaking vehicles - the Tesla Semi and the Tesla Roadster made headlines yet again. The unveiling took place at the company's design studio, where Musk showcased the sleek and futuristic designs of both vehicles. The Semi, set to begin production in 2019, is a space grey electric truck that boasts an impressive 500-mile range. It is equipped with a battery and motors designed to last a staggering 1 million miles, setting new standards in the commercial trucking industry.

But that's not all. Tesla's new Roadster, expected to be released in 2020, is set to redefine the sports car industry. The Roadster boasts a record-breaking 0 to 60 time of just 1.9 seconds, making it the fastest production car ever made. With its sleek and aerodynamic design, the Roadster is set to become one of the most coveted sports cars on the market.

Elon Musk: The Story of The Maverick
Tesla charger, free to use for life by all Tesla car owners, at Tesla Amsterdam Showroom in The Netherlands, Source: Susan Fourtané

Tesla's Nevada Gigafactory, or Gigafactory 1

In 2014, Tesla announced that Nevada had been officially selected to build the first Tesla battery Gigafactory. The first phase of the diamond-shaped solar-powered Gigafactory 1, a lithium-ion battery and electric vehicle sub-assembly factory, officially opened near Reno, Nevada, on July 29, 2016. This was a Tesla-Panasonic partnership. 

The Gigafactory 1 houses approximately 5.3 million square feet of operational space across several floors. Elon Musk envisioned the Gigafactory to be the biggest building in the world. It is entirely powered by renewable energy sources and designed as a net zero energy factory. The facility is primarily powered by solar energy.

Tesla's Buffalo, New York Gigafactory, or Gigafactory 2

In 2017, Tesla began production of solar cells and modules at Gigafactory 2 in Buffalo, New York – a 1.2 million-square-foot facility. In 2019, Tesla added new production lines to support electrical components for Superchargers and energy storage products. Tesla created nearly 800 jobs at Gigafactory 2. The company continues to ramp up operations and production at the facility.

The 88-acre property along the Buffalo River was originally a steel manufacturing site. It was transformed to produce solar panels and solar cells. Tesla secured Gigafactory 2 through its acquisition of SolarCity in 2016. 

In line with agreements with the State of New York, Tesla will create 5,000 clean energy jobs in the state over 10 years, many of those in Buffalo, making the city a hub for sustainable innovation and advanced manufacturing. 

Tesla's Shanghai Gigafactory, or Gigafactory 3

The Shanghai Gigafactory is Tesla's first large-scale factory outside The United States. In January 2019, Tesla CEO attended the incredible ceremony of the Shanghai Gigafactory. During the ceremony, Musk revealed new possibilities and strategies for the future of Tesla's first Chinese manufacturing plant.

The factory construction took place in the Lingang Industrial Zone of Shanghai. According to the Chinese government, this has been the most massive foreign investment Shanghai has seen in the field of manufacturing.

Elon Musk aimed to build affordable cars for the city. However, Tesla planned to continue manufacturing pricier versions for global markets. “Shanghai Giga output is just for greater China, not North America. Affordable cars must be made on the same continent as customers,” he said

The production of the first cars at the Shanghai Gigafactory was achieved in under one year since the initial ground-breaking. 

During his visit to China in January 2019, Elon Musk met the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. As Musk expressed his profound admiration for China and his wishes to visit China regularly, the Chinese premier said, "We can issue you a Chinese green card if that helps."

Tesla's Berlin-Brandenburg Gigafactory, or Gigafactory 4

Berlin was the city chosen for the first European Gigafactory. Tesla has an assembly facility for the Model S and Model X in The Netherlands. The construction of the Gigafactory 4 began in 2020. Tesla Model Y production was set to begin in Berlin, Germany, by 2021. Brexit prevented Tesla from building this Gigafactory in The United Kingdom. The main reason for the company's decision not to build the factory in the UK was that Brexit created too much uncertainty and risk, making it difficult for Tesla to justify the investment required to build the factory.

Tesla's Texas Gigafactory, or Gigafactory 5 

Austin, Texas, and Tulsa were the two main contenders for the new Gigafactory in The United States. Tesla's upcoming Cybertruck will be built in this factory, and a second site to build the Model Y small SUV and Model 3, with the first vehicles coming out by the end of 2020.

The factory will create approximately 5,000 jobs and bring an investment of $1.1 billion. In July 2020, 75 happy Austin Tesla owners, members of the Tesla Owners Club (TOC), paraded to celebrate Texas' new Gigafactory. The Texas Gigafactory will be the largest factory yet built on a 2,000-acre site (809 hectares).

Tesla plans to open the Texas Gigafactory for business in 2021. The opening is being touted as a victory for the Austin region, as it will bring thousands of jobs to the area. At $97 million, Tesla's 2,100-acre Texas Gigafactory constitutes Tesla's best deal yet at around $46,190 per acre.

Immediately after the opening, the manufacturing of the Cybertruck begins production. 


Elon Musk: The Story of The Maverick
All-electric Tesla Cybertruck/Source: Tesla

The Tesla Cybertruck is an all-electric, battery-powered, light commercial vehicle launched by Tesla, Inc. 

In November 2019, Elon Musk claimed that 200,000 people had placed a deposit for the Tesla Cybertruck, which was less than a week after the futuristic vehicle was revealed.

After revealing the Cybertruck, Musk said that the Cybertruck, which comes in three powertrain versions: with one, two, or three electric motors, would be the "last product unveiled for a while, but there will be some unexpected technology announcements next year." 

The Tesla Cybertruck, manufactured at Tesla's Texas Gigafactory, will be released in late 2021 with a starting price of $39,900. 

In 2021, Tesla introduced the single-motor RWD version of its Model S Plaid, which has quickly become one of the most popular electric vehicles on the market.d.

Despite the success of the single-motor RWD version, Tesla has continued to innovate and push the boundaries of electric vehicle technology. In late 2022, the company plans to release two additional versions of the Model S Plaid - the dual-motor AWD version and the tri-motor version.

Elon Musk, renewable energy, and SolarCity

Elon Musk: The Story of The Maverick
Solar power plant in modern sustainable Solar City,Source: kynny/iStock

In 2006, Lyndon and Peter Rive --Elon Musk's cousins-- co-founded SolarCity after Musk provided the initial concept for the company and the financial capital. SolarCity quickly became the second-largest provider of solar power systems in The United States, accomplished in just about six years. 

In 2012, Elon Musk announced that SolarCity and Tesla Inc. would collaborate. The goal was to use electric vehicle batteries to smooth the impact of rooftop solar panels on the power grid. The program went live in 2013. By then, SolarCity was a top company in The United States. 

Elon Musk's desire to promote and advance sustainable energy --in particular, solar energy-- and products for a wider consumer base took a step forward when Tesla Inc. announced an all-stock deal purchase of SolarCity Corp.

In 2014, SolarCity's advanced production facility began to be built in Buffalo, New York, in coordination with the SUNY Polytechnic Institute after acquiring Silevo, a maker of high-efficiency solar modules. Elon Musk said that this facility would triple the size of the largest solar plant in The United States. He said it would be "one of the single largest solar panel production plants in the world." 

In August 2016, Elon Musk closed a $2.6 billion deal that solidified the combination of his Tesla electric car and solar energy companies. By November 2016, Tesla Inc. acquired SolarCity; in December, SolarCity started hiring for the facility.

The factory was completed in 2017. The Tesla Gigafactory 2 is a photovoltaic (PV) cell factory leased by Tesla subsidiary SolarCity in Buffalo, New York. 

According to a statement on Tesla's Website, solar and storage are at their best when combined. By merging Tesla (storage) and SolarCity (solar) the company created fully integrated residential, commercial, and grid-scale products that improve the way that energy is generated, stored, and consumed. The motivation behind creating both Tesla and SolarCity has been Elon Musk's desire to help fight global warming through renewable energy.

The Buffalo facility employed about 800 workers by the end of 2018. However, the state of New York required SolarCity to employ a minimum of 1,450 workers at the facility by the end of April 2020 or face a $41.2 million penalty. In February 2020, SolarCity reported having over 1,500 workers in the facility.

SolarCity is one of the founding members of The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC), a rooftop photovoltaic power station solar trade organization.

Elon Musk and SpaceX: There is no limit in the sky 

Elon Musk: The Story of The Maverick
SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies Corp.) Headquarters; Falcon 9 rocket displayed in the front of the building,Source: Andrei Stanescu/iStock 

Elon Musk is the founder, lead designer, CTO, and CEO of SpaceX. Repeatedly, Musk has said the goals of SpaceX, Tesla, and SolarCity are based on his vision to change the world and help humanity.

"I care about the truth of things and try to understand the truth of things. If you're going to come with some solutions, then the truth is really important." - Elon Musk

Those goals include fighting global warming by generating and using sustainable energy and lessening the risk of human extinction by establishing a human colony on Mars, thus, making humanity multi-planetary. 

Elon Musk's founding of SpaceX in May 2002 marked a major milestone in the history of space exploration. His vision was to make space travel more affordable and accessible by developing innovative rocket technology, with the ultimate goal of establishing a human colony on Mars. From its headquarters in Hawthorne, California, SpaceX has revolutionized the aerospace industry, earning a reputation as a leading provider of commercial and government launch services.

At the outset, Musk invested $100 million of his personal fortune into SpaceX, a bold move demonstrating his unwavering commitment to the company's mission. Through his perseverance and strategic leadership, Musk guided SpaceX through a series of early successes and setbacks, paving the way for the company's eventual dominance in the industry.

By 2016, Musk's private trust held a 54 percent stake in SpaceX, giving him unparalleled control over the company's operations and direction. This position allowed Musk to pursue his ambitious plans for space travel and exploration, including developing reusable rockets and spacecraft, launching satellites, and collaborating with NASA on space missions.

In 2012, the Dragon spacecraft became the world's first commercial spacecraft with a mission to shuttle cargo between the International Space Station (ISS) and planet Earth. 

One of Elon Musk's greatest ambitions was to use the Dragon capsule to send humans to space. After succeeding in this, his goal is to send humans to Mars to colonize the Red Planet.

In April 2016, Musk historically launched and re-landed a Falcon 9 rocket. 

In 2017, SpaceX unveiled the design of the company's next-generation launch vehicle and spacecraft system: The Big Falcon Rocket (BFR). The BFR would support all SpaceX launch service provider capabilities with a single set of huge vehicles, including Earth-orbit, Lunar-orbit, interplanetary missions, and intercontinental passenger transport on Earth, with most long-distance journeys anywhere on Earth in under one hour

At a press conference in September 2018, Elon Musk explained the updated design of the Big Falcon Rocket (BFR). The Big Falcon Rocket will replace the Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, and Dragon vehicles in the 2020s.

In March 2018, at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, Elon Musk announced that he hoped to have the BFR ready for short flights in early 2019. In April 2018, the company announced that SpaceX would construct a facility at the Port of Los Angeles.

The facility is going to be used to build and house the BFR. The port property presented an ideal location for SpaceX due to the size of the rocket. When completed, the spacecraft will only be movable by a large barge or ship. 

In 2020, SpaceX was talking to government officials about building a major manufacturing facility in the Port of Los Angeles. The new rocket factory would build SpaceX's massive, next-generation rocket called Starship.

SpaceX plans on flying a Japanese billionaire around the Moon in 2023.

Elon Musk and The Boring Company: Underground tunnels to reduce traffic congestion born from being stuck in traffic 

Elon Musk: The Story of The Maverick
Underground tunnel potentially reduce traffi, Source: Magu Directors/iStock

Whatever Elon Musk tweets, it becomes a piece of writing, which perhaps he finds amusing. But also, it may become a company. So, once when he was stuck in traffic in December 2016, he used the time to tweet: "I'm going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging." His thought, born out of frustration, became his venture, named The Boring Company

The Boring Company had a test dig in February 2017 on the SpaceX property in Los Angeles since such construction requires no permits.  

By the end of 2018, The Boring Company (TBC) had approved plans for the conto constructstruction of operational tunnels in Los Angeles, Baltimore, and Chicago.

Musk initially tweeted that his digging and tunnel company, The Boring Company, would not just transport cars from one end of town to another. The cars would also travel into residential areas, "all the way into your garage," Musk said. 

In February 2020, The Boring Company released images of a working Prufrock, a tunnel-boring machine (TBM).

Neuralink and Artificial Intelligence (AI): Downloading directly to your brain  

Elon Musk: The Story of The Maverick
Neural network,ktsimage/iStock

Neuralink Corporation is a neurotechnology company founded in 2016 by Elon Musk and others. The firm was first publicly reported in 2017. Neuralink, headquartered in San Francisco, develops implantable brain-machine interfaces (BMIs).

"We are, all of us, already cyborgs," - Elon Musk

After receiving $158 million in funding --including $100 million from Elon Musk-- and with a staff of 90 employees, Neuralink was officially launched on July 16, 2019. Neuralink already hired several high-profile neuroscientists; the company continues hiring engineers.

Neuralink has been working on a sewing-machine-like device capable of implanting fragile threads of 4 to 6 μm in width into the brain. 

In the short term, Neuralink aims to make devices that initially treat serious brain disease and brain damage caused by a stroke. In the long term, the company's ambitious goal is to develop and use the technology for human enhancement, also known as transhumanism.  

Part of Elon Musk's inspiration for the creation of Neuralink was a science-fiction concept called Neural Lace, which is part of the fictional universe in Scottish author Iain M. Banks' series of novels The Culture.

At the time of the launch in July 2019, Neuralink announced that the company would start experiments with humans in 2020. 

Elon Musk's experimental schools for his children and other children: Ad Astra School and Astra Nova School

Elon Musk: The Story of The Maverick
Image taken from page 274 of 'Finland in the Nineteenth Century" by Finnish authors. Illustrated by Finnish artists in 1894, Source: Flickr/British Library

Ad Astra School 

In Latin, Ad Astra means to the stars. In 2014, Elon Musk's non-profit, private, experimental Ad Astra School opened quietly on the SpaceX campus in California. Musk opened the private Ad Astra School shortly after he pulled his five sons from Los Angeles' Mirman School, a K-8 school for gifted children. Musk thought the school was not teaching the skills he believed children would need in the future.

"It's important to teach problem solving." -Elon Musk 

Elon Musk hired former Mirman's teacher, Joshua Dahn, (video), to run Ad Astra. Dahn was one of his son's teachers. Dahn's thinking on how education today should be was in line with that of Musk. 

According to an unreported document filed with The United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Musk founded Ad Astra to "exceed traditional school metrics on all relevant subject matter through unique project-based learning experiences."

In the school's first year, the five Musk children (twins born in 2004 and triplets born in 2006) made up the student body together with a few children of SpaceX employees.

By 2018, the Ad Astra School was made up of over 30 children aged 7 to 14. The curriculum focused on science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM), robotics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), ethics and robotics, problem solving, and critical thinking. 

At Ad Astra, students discussed the ethical and political implications of Artificial Intelligence. They also worked with and built technologies such as robots and weather balloons.

Spots were limited to the children of SpaceX employees, and they were by invitation only. The admission process was kept secret. The unconventional, future-oriented school differed from traditional schools in many ways; one was that there were no grades. Students discuss the ethical and political implications of artificial intelligence. They also work with and build technologies such as robots and weather balloons. 

Ad Astra School was free for all the selected children, with Elon Musk picking up the whole tab, which included whiteboard walls, a MacBook laptop for every student, food trucks for after-school sessions, and tuition.

According to the IRS document above, Elon Musk gave Ad Astra $475,000 in both 2014 and 2015.

Astra Nova School  

In Latin, Astra Nova means new star. Astra Nova is an experimental school in Los Angeles, California, for imaginative, kind, and academically motivated students between the ages of 8 and 14. Astra Nova School quietly started in 2016, following its predecessor, Ad Astra School

While Ad Astra School started as an in-person private school on SpaceX's premises for Elon Musk's children and children from SpaceX's employees, Astra Nova School is based on online learning, classes on Thursdays only, and the virtual school is open to global students. 

The virtual institution's principal is Joshua Dahn. The application for admission to the 2020-2021 online classes includes a short video response to a critical-thinking problem titled The Lake Conundrum (video). The situation deals with manufacturing, pollution, and corruption. 

Astra Nova School was incorporated as a traditional for-profit business filed with the California Secretary of State's office. Principal Joshua Dahn, also co-founder of Astra Nova School, has said that Elon Musk, who helped with the initial funding, is no longer involved. 

Students who are admitted pay $7,500 for the full year. 

Elon Musk and Mars Colonization: Making humanity multi planetary by 2040

Elon Musk: The Story of The Maverick
Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster and Starman wearing a SpaceX suit, Source: Wikimedia Commons/image donated by SpaceX

Elon Musk's ultimate goal is to colonize Mars. In 2011, Elon Musk said he hoped to send humans to Mars within 10 to 20 years. According to Ashlee Vance's biography, Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, Musk wanted to establish a Mars colony by 2040 with a population of 80,000 humans. 

Due to the lack of oxygen in Mars' atmosphere, all transportation would have to be electric, including electric aircraft, cars, trains, and Hyperloop. 

In June 2016, Elon Musk said that the first uncrewed flight of the larger Interplanetary Starship was planned for departure to Mars in 2022. The first crewed ITS Mars flight would follow in 2024. 

Elon Musk started the SpaceX Mars Program to develop and facilitate the colonization of Mars. The central piece of the program is the SpaceX Starship, a fully reusable space vehicle under development since 2018. 

The tentative timeline from November 2016 onwards included three missions to Mars before the first possible flight to Mars in 2022 was as follows: 

  • 2018: Initial SpaceX Mars mission 

  • 2020: Second preparatory mission

  • 2022: Third uncrewed preparatory mission 

  • 2024: First crewed flight to Mars with about a dozen humans, according to Elon Musk's optimistic planning 

In June 2020, Elon Musk shared a photo of SpaceX's Starship rocket tanks, which are the tanks that will assist in sending the Starship rocket to the Moon.

As of August 2020, none of the planned Mars missions have started. One of the rockets that could be used for a Mars mission will be first used and tested for a Moon mission. According to Musk, this might happen in 2021 when NASA's SpaceX Crew-2 is scheduled to launch 2021 with four astronauts for the mission. 

Elon Musk: Family, relationships, and Children  

Elon Reeve Musk was born to a Canadian mother and a South African father on June 28, 1971, in Pretoria, South Africa. Elon holds citizenship from South Africa, Canada (1989), and The United States (2002). 

His mother, Maye Musk, is a Canadian actress, model, and dietician. His father, Errol Musk, is a South African engineer. His parents divorced when he was 10 years old. 

Elon has a younger brother, Kimbal Musk, who was born in 1972. Kimbal is an entrepreneur, restaurateur, chef, venture capitalist, and environmentalist. He owns The Kitchen Restaurant Group, a family of community restaurant concepts.

A younger sister born in 1974, Tosca Musk, is a filmmaker and founder of Musk Entertainment. She has produced and directed several movies and is CEO and co-founder of the OTT streaming platform Passionflix, focusing on bringing best-selling romance novels to the screen. 

Elon Musk first married Canadian author Justine Wilson in 2000. They were both students at Ontario's Queen's University. They separated in 2008. 

With ex-wife Justine Wilson, Elon Musk has five sons: Twins Griffin and Xavier, born in 2004, and triplets Damian, Kai, and Saxon, born in 2006. Their five sons were conceived through in-vitro fertilization. Musk and Wilson share custody of all their five sons. Elon Musk and Justine Wilson's first son, Nevada Alexander Musk, died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in 2002 when he was only 10 weeks old.

In 2008, Elon Musk began dating English actress Talulah Riley. They married in 2010, split in 2012, and married each other again in 2013. They finally got divorced in late 2016. 

In 2017, Elon Musk got involved with American actress Amber Heard in an on-off relationship. They split up after one year.

Elon Musk began dating Canadian musician, singer, composer, and visual artist Claire Elise Boucher (born on March 17, 1988), known professionally as Grimes. The couple revealed they were dating in May 2018 at the annual Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

On January 8, 2020, Grimes announced she was pregnant and gave birth to their son on May 4, 2020. Musk and Grimes initially named their son X Æ A-12 (pronounced /ˈɛks.æʃˌeɪ.twɛlv/ EKS-ash-AY-twelv or /ˈɛks.æʃˌaɪ/ EKS-ash-EYE). Since then, a series of changes followed to comply with some imposed societal rules about how they should name their child.  

The name was deemed illegal under California law because it contained characters not in the modern English alphabet. The couple then changed it to X Æ A-XII. 

Æ (æ) is not a letter in the modern English alphabet (minuscule: æ). It is a character formed from the letters A and E. It was originally a ligature representing the Latin diphthong ae before being promoted to the full status of a letter in languages including Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic, and Faroese. It was also used in Old Swedish before being changed to ä.

So, the child was eventually named X AE A-XII Musk, with X as a first name and AE A-XII as a middle name. Perhaps, Musk also envisions a future where children are all given names that they can later decide if they want to keep or change it to something else they choose, following a right to individual and personal choice.

Æ (minuscule: æ) is a character formed from the letters a and e, originally a ligature representing the Latin diphthong ae. It has been promoted to the full status of a letter in some languages, including Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic, and Faroese. It was also used in Old Swedish before being changed to ä. 

Elon Musk’s Non-profit: The Elon Musk Foundation

Elon Musk founded and is chairman of the Musk Foundation. The Musk Foundation is dedicated to providing solar-power energy systems in disaster areas. In addition, the Foundation provides support to many other initiatives. 

In 2010, The Musk Foundation, in collaboration with SolarCity, donated a 25 kW solar power system to the South Bay Community Alliance's hurricane response center in Coden, Alabama.

In 2011, Musk donated $250,000 toward a solar power project in Sōma, Japan, a city devastated by a tsunami. 

In 2014, Musk donated $1 million toward the construction of the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe and pledged to build a Tesla Supercharger in the museum car park.  

The Foundation donated $10 million to the Future of Life Institute in 2015 to run a global research program focusing on keeping Artificial Intelligence beneficial to humanity. 

In 2018, Musk donated over $480,000 to install new water fountains with filtration systems to access clean water at all Flint, Michigan schools, providing free, safe drinking water to approximately 30,000 children since 2019. 

In 2019, Musk donated $1 million to a tree planting initiative to plant 20 million trees in collaboration with Arbor Day Foundation. 

In 2020, Elon Musk donated ventilators built by Tesla to third-world countries in need to help those suffering during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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